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Hispanic students seek to raise awareness for Latino success programs

Although Georgia State has created programs such as LASA and Latino Outreach to make sure hispanic students are well equipped for the future, these programs are not being broadcasted out to students. Photo by Chris Young | The Signal

In 2017, Hispanic employees made 29 percent less on average than their white counterparts, according to the Economic Policy Institute. At Georgia State, Hispanic Students are graduating at a rate of 51.1 percent, barely 0.3 percent less than their white counterparts. And organizations across campus are ensuring Hispanic students all see success after graduation.

According to the Pew Research center, Hispanic employees haven’t seen much of a wage increase since 1980, despite growing numbers of Hispanic employees with college degrees.

Daniel Almaguer-Gaspar, president of Georgia State’s Latin American Student Association (LASA) and son of Mexican immigrants, said he thinks the wage gap is something that stems from Hispanic students wanting to ensure job security wherever necessary.

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“I feel as though the Latinos that are entering the more professional work force have parents that immigrated to this country and have faced a struggle to pay bills. Seeing that growing up, they don’t want to have those issues as well, so they take what they can get,” Almaguer-Gaspar said.

In an effort to help battle the wage gap, Georgia State has initiated programs and support services for Hispanic students. Hispanic-based sororities and fraternities and LASA are all organizations supported by the university. Latino Outreach, one of Georgia State’s Student Success programs, who has also been working to support Hispanic retention rates and progression.

These programs, according to Georgia State student and daughter of Venezuelan immigrants Scherezade Mendez, have helped her throughout her university career.

“As a freshman, these organizations reached out to me,” Mendez said. “ [Georgia State] makes sure that everybody is as equipped as possible.”

Outside of LASA, Latino Outreach, sororities and fraternities, Hispanic students could have access to other organizations like ALPHA and Management Leaders for Tomorrow. The problem is that they don’t know about them.

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“People who are just now hearing about these organizations don’t feel prepared. Those who know, know. Those who don’t, don’t. There isn’t much effort to make those organizations more visible to students who are not aware, and [Georgia State] is letting students indirectly slip through the cracks,” Almaguer-Gaspar said.

Ashley Castro, events coordinator for LASA and daughter of Mexican immigrants, said the university could do more to emphasize the events and opportunities for minorities, and notifying these students more often.

“It would be helpful to tell incoming freshmen that they have opportunities to get experience, so they can have it for an internship later and have the background and knowledge for the field they’re going into,” she said.

To Almaguer-Gaspar, the key to success lies within the university putting in more effort to highlight Hispanic students as a whole.

“Georgia State is giving us the platform but not the full-on support. I feel as though they want to say they have an organization for Latinos but not to fully encourage the Latino culture,” Almaguer-Gaspar said.

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